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The Vampire Diaries Review: Sober Coaches and a New Year’s Massacre

It’s been two weeks since a fresh episode of The Vampire Diaries, a harsh reminder of the month-plus break we’ll be getting after the mid-season finale, which is next week. The freight train hasn’t stopped moving though, and this week we took a deeper look into the Augustines, and what Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) experienced while he was held captive. And don’t worry romance fans, we get a make-out session of former lovers!

There were a lot of question marks that were raised when Damon’s connection to the Augustines came about, especially as we’re five seasons in and this is all a bit…new. As it turns out, Damon was sold to Dr. Whitmore, one of the earlier members, by a Joe Salvatore in 1953. He fell back into their hands at the end of the previous episode, were Dr. Wes Maxfield (Rick Cosnett) bested Damon with a little vervain trick, similar to how he was taken the first time. Dr. Maxfield told Damon he was to be the new test subject, replacing the one he lost. That’s Jessie by the way, that character that never really caught on and is now offed.

TVD cell0After Elena (Nina Dobrev) couldn’t get a hold of Damon, she went to visit her mysterious new friend Aaron (Shaun Sipos) in hopes of finding out more about Wes. Aaron was a total wreck after finding out his roommate was dead, and campus security had labeled it a suicide. Aaron tries to brood, but Elena, in new-Elena vampire fashion, pokes and prods him for his help, Despite being completely stricken with grief, he agrees to help her try and find his legal guardian and her boyfriend. Oh joy, this bridge is going to burn before I expected. He takes her to the Whitmore house, where he’s able to invite her in, because he is Aaron Whitmore, and he basically owns everything. Elena sees her father in a photograph, and then BOOM! Wes Maxfield is talking about how awesome her dad is, and then BOOM! He straight-up vervains her in the neck. The look of shock on Aaron’s face was priceless. Wes gives this him this ridiculous speech where he blows this kid’s mind. There are so many supernatural character and those that know about them, I almost get dumbfounded when a happily ignorant soul comes about. 

Back at the Salvatore Mansion, Caroline (Candice Accola) and Katherine were working to get Stefan (Paul Wesley) out of his heebies-jeebies nightmares. One of the reasons I love a show like The Vampire Diaries is because cute little vampires announce themselves as “sober coaches” and bring gigantic safes along with them because hanging out in what you were drowned in hundreds of times will make all your problems go away. When Caroline’s psychology doesn’t come through, Katherine relies on her in-your-face charm and hops into the safe with him, where we can feel the sexual tension from somewhere around the first second and the, well, second second. It’s all fun and games here, let’s get back to the real stuff.

Elena wakes up in a cell next to Damon, who fills her in on the situation. Damon opened up on what happened to him during his first kidnapping, where he was tortured for five years. He made a friend with Dr. Whitmore’s other captive, a WWII soldier named Enzo (the wonderfully named Michael Malarkey). He tells us the story of how he made the first escape; the vampires were let out once a year, at the New Year’s Eve party, so guests could uh, have some fun. Enzo and Damon hatch a plan that one vampire will give his daily cup of blood to the other, so one of them can gain enough strength to take over the party on New Year’s Eve. They have a rock, paper, scissors match, and Damon wins. He’s reluctant to finish the story, which immediately had me thinking it’d end in classic “Damon Survives, The Rest Fall” type of scenario.

Wes tries to give more background to Aaron about his family and their history in the study of vampires, but he doesn’t seem too keen to hear it. Wes grew so passionate he showed Aaron photos of his parents, ravaged by vampires, egging him on to pick up the sword and continue the fight. Aaron doesn’t let Dr. Maxfield talk for too long, and punches him out, grabbing a gun and bullets and running out. Poor sod, a gun and bullets? Where’s the family Whitmore stake collection?

Before Aaron can ruin the chatty times, Damon finishes his story to Elena about his escape. At the New Year’s Eve Party, things sort of went according to plan, as Damon was strong enough and he performed quite the little massacre. The bad part is that a fire got started in the midst of the chaos, and now everything’s on fire. Damon runs to the cage, is pissed at its vervain essence, and then he and Enzo just scream at each other for awhile. The only thing I was thinking here was that it was a cage, the same cage as Damon’s, which meant a key could open it, so why didn’t Damon just super speed that shit and find the key? Or at least find something to open that cage, forget the key. It was all a bit silly, but in the end, Damon shut off his emotions and left Enzo. R.I.P. Enzo, or at least until a few paragraphs later.

Aaron confronted Elena, accusing her of every vampire-related murder ever, then Damon breaks the news to turn the attention onto him; he was the one who had killed Aaron’s parents, and his aunt, and all those other Whitmores. Basically, Enzo had asked Damon his revenge plan, and they saved the reveal until this moment; Damon’s plan was to kill all the Whitmores except one, let them grow up and have a family, kill all but one, wash, rinse, repeat. It’s a bit of a turn for the character, as Damon’s been walking the line a bit better in this recent season. The whole fresh killing of family members of Elena’s friends kind of cautions the use of a word such as “overboard.” Hope the torture was worth it, Whitmores.

TVD cellThe sequence ends, and when Damon wakes up, he’s feeling pretty deserving of a bullet to the head. He wants to talk to Elena about it, but whaaaaaaaaat! Elena’s not there! She’s on an operating table, and Damon’s old pal Enzo happens to be on one right next to her. This is instantly intriguing, as if this Enzo is the same one, and something had happened to keep him alive, well, I can’t wait to see what he does when he sees Damon back in their old stomping grounds…er, I mean, cells.

Stefan was able to calm himself down inside that safe, but only after Katherine talked him down. They pulled in all kinds of close, and it looked like they were about to begin the makeouts, but Caroline popped open the safe, wondering why it was so quiet. After that, everyone parts, and then Caroline realizes they’ve still got a safe sitting in the house, and boy, that thing’s heavy. She’s looking for help, but Katherine and Stefan are too busy getting cozy by the fireplace. They have a long moment of looks and slight caressing, and then there’s a kiss, and we’re on to some crazy makeouts. It was all quite romantic, and a bit humorous, as I guess Stefan will take any version of Elena, as long as it’s human. It got a bit funnier when Caroline could hear them smooching, and screeched into the phone that Elena needed to call her straight away.

A Stefan and Katherine pairing only makes the romantic angles all the more interesting, and Caroline’s sure to be pretty pissed about the whole thing. Perhaps she should stop worrying about everyone else’s romantic life and worry about her own, because the only suitor she’s got at this point is Klaus. Besides, Katherine Pierce is still the MVP of Season 5, and her being with Stefan only means more screentime. Plus, there was no Matt (Zach Roerig) this week, which is totally alright considering they don’t know what to do with him, and no Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) either, which means they might be trying to brainstorm ways to actually make all that seem…romantic.

I like how quickly they upped the ante on the Wes Maxfield story, as once Silas dropped out we were majorly missing a Big Bad Baddie. Enzo seemed like a fun character, and there’s sure to be plenty of drama going on in that holding cell. Is Elena going to have a bit of a pow-wow with her heart and consider it might not be a good idea to be romantically involved with someone who is killing generations of Whitmores?

Damon’s troubles never cease, with Elena, Enzo, and the Augustines. He’s always finding a way out of the madness somehow, so let’s see what he has cooked up for us this time.

Season 5, Episode 9: “The Cell” (original airdate November 5, 2013.)

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Images courtesy of Annette Brown and The CW.

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